Using Technology Alliances to Broaden a Client Base

By Steve Ciarciello

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Accountants are often expected to provide forward-thinking problem-solving and advice on a broad range of issues, including technology—from choosing accounting software to automating business processes to securing financial data from outsiders. Technology solutions allow accountants to look quickly into a company’s operations, see clearly into cause-and-effect circumstances, and pose credible “what if” scenarios. The right software can pinpoint trends and possible trouble spots.

For example, if a business’ inventory turn rate is half the industry average, it shows the business owners that they are tying up valuable resources in inventory, restricting cash flow and losing investment income. Determining how to get real-time data from the business’ system instead of waiting for delayed reports can show the owners how much faster they can make critical decisions based on accurate, up-to-date information.

Providing Technical Advice and Solutions

Offering sound technical advice requires that a CPA know the business’ needs and processes as well as the various technology solutions available. Having a well-rounded knowledge of the available solutions will enable a CPA to recommend the right technology fit.

Providing technical advice and solutions, however, can be challenging and risky. Providing sound technical advice requires continuous education and certification. Offering technology solutions may require employing a technology division to provide training and support.

To offer competitive, comprehensive technical advice and solutions without being immersed in the rapidly changing IT industry, a CPA can partner with an IT solutions provider. A respectable solutions provider can analyze a business’ practices, needs, processes, and goals and recommend and support the appropriate technology solutions.

Finding the Right Technology Partner

There are plenty of IT solutions providers to choose from, but not all of them are compatible with every company. Consider the following issues when choosing the right solutions provider:

Reputation: Ask for references from well-known organizations.
Time in business: Choose a stable organization that has been around for at least 10 years.

Experience: Check the solutions provider’s experience to see if it matches the business’ needs.

Training: Check to see if the solutions provider offers training by certified trainers.

Support: Check the procedure, response time, and hours of operation of the solutions provider’s support center. If 24/7 support is needed, a 9-to-5 provider will not suffice.

Partnering with a technology provider is a cost-effective way of offering more comprehensive services while allowing CPAs to do what they do best. It’s also a great way to attract new business.

Steve Ciarciello is the president and CEO of CompuData, Inc.




















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